Police – 29.06.2019.







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Hencov airfield, Jihlava – 06.06.2019







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Jiri Mares Remembered

Many thanks to Jolanda Hoevenberg, who on 5 May, the anniversary of the liberation of Holland, visited Lemmer General Cemetery, Lemsterland, Holland and kindly placed chrysanthemums at the grave of Sgt Jiří Mareš.

Sgt Jiří Mareš

Sgt Jiří Mareš was a 25-year-old, 311 Sqn Air-Gunner, born 12/04/16 at Níkovice, Písek, Czechoslovakia.

On the night of 17 July 1941, eight 311 Sqn Wellingtons took-off for a bombing raid on Hamburg. One of the aircraft was Wellington KX-N, R1718, Captained by Sgt Jaroslav Nyč, At 23:07, on 17 July ’41, 311 Sqn Wellington KX-N, R1718, Captained by F/Sgt Jaroslav Nyc, and crewed by Sgt Karel Šťastný, co-pilot, P/O Jaroslav Zafouk, navigator, P/O Otakar Černý, wireless-operator, Sgt František Knap, front-gunner and Sgt Jiří Mareš, rear-gunner, took-off from East Wreatham for a bombing raid on Hamburg.

Nothing more was heard from this aircraft. At 00:50 it was attacked by a Luftwaffe Me 110 night fighter from 4/NJG1, being flown by Lt Rudolf Schoenert just west of Lemmer, Holland. The Wellington was shot down, crashing in the Zuiderzee on the island of Ijsselmeer 5km west of Lemmer. The crew managed to bail-out but Sgt Jiří Mareš, was drowned in the Zuider Zee after baling out of the stricken aircraft. The other five crew members were captured by the Germans and became Prisoners of War for the duration of the war.

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Chevington Cemetery Allied Airmen’s Remembrance



Commonwealth and Allied Airmen’s Remembrance Ceremony

On Sunday, 28th April the Newcastle & Gateshead Branch of the RAF Association held their annual ceremony at Chevington Cemetery to remember the airmen of the Commonwealth and Allied nations who died in the Second World War and who are buried there.

The Royal Air Force was represented by Group Captain Cowieson and there were also officers from the Royal Australian Air Force, the Canadian Air Force and the Royal New Zealand Air Force plus civilian representatives of Artur Bildziuk from the Polish Airmen’s Association and Col. Andrew Shepherd representing the Free Czechoslovak Air Force Associates.

RAF Boulmer provided an Honour Guard plus ten personnel to act as cross layers and further cross layers were provided by the Northumbrian Universities Air Squadron and by cadets of the Air Training Corps. Seventeen standards from the RAF Association and other ex-service organisations paraded and music was provided by the Backworth Colliery Band.

Approximately 200 people including many RAF veterans and local residents attended the ceremony, along with Mrs Anne-Marie Trevelvan MP and representatives of Northumberland County Council and East Chevington Parish Council.

The event began with the playing of the Australian, Canadian and New Zealand national anthems, following which nineteen wreaths were laid at the war memorial. The Roll of Honour was then called and, as each name was read out, a poppy cross was placed on that airman’s’ grave. A total of twenty-nine airmen from thirteen different countries were thus honoured.

Amongst those twenty-nine are two Czechoslovak airmen: Sgt Ladislav Kocourek, 25, and Sgt Václav Šindelář, 24, both of whom trainee pilots, killed in training flight accidents whilst with 57 OTU.

There then followed the Act of Remembrance which included Last Post and Reveille, after which a very moving tribute to the fallen was read by Flt Lt David Bain and the ceremony then closed with the playing of the UK national anthem.

A short parade involving RAF Boulmer personnel, veterans and cadets took place at which Group Captain Cowieson took the salute and everyone then transferred to the Hadston Community Centre for refreshments.

The assistance of Sydney Graham, Chairman, Newcastle/Gateshead Branch, The RAF Association with this article is very much appreciated.

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KOCOUREK Ladislav, 25, Sgt, 57 OTU, Pilot.


* 01/03/18, Brno.

† 17/03/43, Brotherick Farm, Warkworth, Northumberland.

Killed in a flying accident, his Spitfire AR222 collided with Spitfire X4266 during practising crossover turns with Free French pilot P/O J. B. Nemoz.

Grave ref: Sec. H. Grave 194.

A symbolic urn no 2, was returned to Ostrava Hrabyně 1945.

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ŠINDELÁŘ Václav, 24, Sgt, 57 OTU, Pilot.


* 21/09/18, Plzeň.

† 19/04/43, South Rock Hall, Burton.

Killed during training flight when his Spitfire P7352 crashed at South Rock Hall, Burton. Cause of crash is believed to be because of a oxygen system fault.

Grave ref: Sec. H. Grave 248..

A symbolic urn was returned to Plzeň 1945.

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Ivo Peter Tonder




F/Lt Ivo Peter Tonder


………..* 16.04.1913, Praha, Czechoslovakia.

……….† 04.05.1995, Henley-on-Thames, UK.








Příslušníkem 312. perutě od října 1940 do června 1942

Ivo Tonder před válkou sloužil u 1. pluku. Po okupaci Československa byl demobilizován a pracoval v továrně Aero jako konstruktér. Do exilu odešel 14. prosince 1939 přes Slovensko, Maďarsko Jugoslávii, Řecko, Turecko, Sýrii a Libanon. V březnu 1940 se dostal do československého depa ve francouzském Agde. Ve Francii prodělal operaci slepého střeva a přes lékařský zákaz se, po pádu Francie, vydal na cestu do Velké Británie. Zde vstoupil do RAF a postupně dosáhl hodnosti Flight Leutenanta.

3. června 1942 se nevrátil z operačního letu s krycím označením Circus 6, po sestřelu německým FW190 se zachránil na padáku, ale upadl do zajetí. Nejdříve byl poslán do tábora Dulag Luft v Oberursel, a po výsleších pak do tábora Stalag Luft III v polském Saganu. Zde se nejdříve zúčastnil dvou nezdařených pokusů o útěk a poté se aktivně zapojil do příprav Velkého útěku.

V noci z 24. na 25. března 1944 také spolu s dalšími prchnul. Nejdříve, ve snaze uniknou na lodi, zamířil na sever k Baltu, ale to se ukázalo jako nemožné. Vydal se proto zpět do Československa, kde byl 30. března zatčen Gestapem, strávil osm měsíců na samotce v Praze. 30. listopadu 1944 byl poslán do tábora Stalag Luft I v Barthu. O dva týdny později byl převezen do Lipska k soudnímu přelíčení, shledán vinným ze zrady říšského protektorátu, odsouzen k trestu smrti a odeslán do tábora Oflag IVc v Colditzu, kde měl čekat na vykonání rozsudku. Zde zůstal až do 16. dubna 1945, dočkal se také osvobození americkou armádou.

29. června byl odeslán k 313. peruti. V roce 1947 byl demobilizován a nedlouho potom se 31. května 1948 pokusil o další útěk, tentokrát z komunistického Československa.

Na hranicích byl znovu zatčen a odsouzen k osmi letům vězení. Odtud v roce 1949 úspěšně uprchl a za pomoci CIA se dostal do spojenci obsazené části Německa. Jeho ženě, Jiřině Tonderové, která za války také sloužila u RAF jako obsluha radaru, se útěk zdařil. O dva roky později se CIA podařilo do exilu propašovat i jejich dvě děti.

Zbytek života pak strávili ve Velké Británii.

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A member of 312 Sqn from October 1940 till June 1942

Ivo Tonder was a pre-war Czechoslovak pilot who served with Air Regiment 1 within the Czechoslovak army. After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, he was demobilised and worked as a designer in the Aero Vodochody near Prague. In 1939, shortly after his demobilisation, he escaped to France via Slovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Syria and Lebanon. In March 1940 he joined the Czechoslovak Depot in Adge. In France, he underwent appendix surgery and whilst still recovering escaped occupied France to Great Britain. He joined the RAF and after retraining to fly British aircraft he joined No.312 Czechoslovak Squadron reaching the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

On 3rd June 1942, Ivo Tonder did not return from an operation code-named Circus 6. His aircraft was shot down by a German Focke-Wulf FW 190 but he successfully bailed out and survived. However, after this accident, he was captured by the Germans and sent to Dulag Luft POW camp in Oberursel, Germany, for Gestapo interrogation. He was eventually transferred to the notorious Stalag Luft III in Sagan where he took part in two unsuccessful escapes and eventually succeeded in what is now referred to as The Great Escape. His role as a member of the escape group was as tailor and tunnel digger.

On the night of 24th March 1944 after his escape, he intended to head towards the north of Poland and catch a boat to freedom. This plan was later deemed impossible so instead, he headed towards Switzerland via Czechoslovakia. Unfortunately, he was recaptured by Gestapo and spend eight months in a solitary cell in Prague. On 30th November 1944, he was sent to a Leipzig court and sentenced to death for the treachery of the Bohmen und Mahren protectorate. Two weeks later he was sent to the Oflag IVc POW camp in Colditz awaiting his execution. He stayed in Colditz till its liberation by the US Army on 16th April 1945.

On 29th June 1945 he joined No. 313 RAF Squadron and having reunited with the Czechoslovakian army he was demobilized in 1947.

On 31st May 1948, he made an attempt to escape from communist Czechoslovakia into Germany. He was captured by border police and sentenced to eight years in jail. After a year in this jail, he escaped and with the support of the CIA he successfully crossed the border into the American Zone of Germany. Here he joined his wife Jiřina Tonderová who served in the RAF as a radio operator. She was brought out of Czechoslovakia separately in 1948. Two years later the CIA smuggled their two children out. They spent the rest of their lives in the United Kingdom.

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© Josef Pikna




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Sitensky Exhibition – 08.05.19. – 23.06.19.



SITENSKÝ 100

Výstava 100 fotografií ke 100. výročí narození fotografa Ladislava Sitenského

Ladislav Sitenský byl významný český fotograf, který se narodil 7. 8. 1919 na Královských Vinohradech a prožil zde téměř celý život.

Ačkoli je známý především svými válečnými snímky československých perutí RAF, byl jeho záběr mnohem širší. Jak sám říkával, fotografoval prakticky všechno, co mu přišlo do cesty a tím se stal trochu i dokumentaristou a kronikářem 20. století. Ovšem nečekejte žádný strohý dokument, jeho snímky se nikdy neobešly bez lyriky. Fotografování pro něho bylo způsobem, jak vyjádřit radost ze života, fotografie pak prostředkem, jak zachytit poezii okamžiku.

Městská část Praha 2 oslaví 100. jubileum svého slavného rodáka retrospektivní výstavou v galerii ve věži Novoměstské radnice, na které budou představena nejvýznamnější díla jeho tvorby.

SITENSKÝ 100

The New Town Hall Tower Gallery commemorates Ladislav Sitenský’s 100th birthday with an exhibition of his 100 photographs.

Ladislav Sitenský, a remarkable Czech photographer, was born on August 7th, 1919, in Prague 2, district of Kralovské Vinohrady, where he spent most of his life.

Although he is most famous for his war photos of the Czechoslovak Squadrons in the RAF, his coverage was much wider. As he used to say himself, he would take photos of about everything he had seen, thus becoming a bit of a documentarist and chronicler of the 20th century. However, you should not expect any austere documents, as his photos are always poetic. Taking photos was a way of expressing his joy of life and his photos were the means of capturing the poetry of the moment.

The city district of Prague 2 celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of its famous native by holding a retrospective exhibition of his most important photographs.




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Dutch remembrance of Czechoslovak RAF airmen.

The four Czechoslovak RAF airmen interred at Oosterwolde General Cemetery, Holland, were remembered in a service held there on 15 April 2019.

The event was organised by the Oldebroek Municipality, the Oosterwolde Orange Committee, the Oosterwolde Village Association and the “De Broeklanden” Archaeological Association and was attended by numerous officials, local dignitaries and well-wishers. Representing the airmen’s homeland was Jana REINIŠOVÁ Czech Ambassador to Holland, and Roman Bužek, Slovak Ambassador to Holland.

Video courtesy and © of Henk Tabois.

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From 18:35 on 16 October 1940, four Wellington bombers from 311 Sqn, began taking-off from East Wretham, Norfolk, for a bombing raid on the shipyard at Bremen, Germany. The last to leave, at 18:50 was Wellington KX-T, L7844, was Captained by P/O Bohumil LANDA,43, co-pilot Sgt Emanuel NOVOTNÝ, navigator P/O Hubert JAROŠEK,30, wireless-operator Sgt Karel KLIMT, 28, front-gunner Sgt Otto JIRSÁK, 33, rear-gunner Sgt Augustin ŠESTÁK, 22, but was shortly due to become the squadrons first loss due to a night fighter attack.

At 21:25 it was shot down, over the Zuiderzee, Holland by a Luftwaffe Dornier Do 17Z-10 night fighter, piloted by Oberleutnant Ludwig BECKER with unteroffizier Josef Staub, radar-operator/air-gunner of 4./NJG 1. It was a short combat; a five to six-second burst from the Dornier’s machine guns hit the Wellington, causing its starboard engine to catch fire, then spinning as it dived out of the sky, crashing North-East of Oosterwolde, near Grote Woldweg, Holland.

Three of the crew, Sgt Emanuel NOVOTNÝ, P/O Hubert JAROŠEK, and Sgt Augustin ŠESTÁK, managed to bail-out of the stricken Wellington. NOVOTNÝ and ŠESTÁK landed safely but were captured and spent the remainder of the war as Prisoners of War, but JAROŠEK was killed in the jump.

The remains of P/O Bohumil LANDA, P/O Hubert JAROŠEK, Sgt Karel KLIMT, and Sgt Otto JIRSÁK were interred at Oosterwolde General Cemetery.

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The fate of Viktor Waidlich


Český televizní dokument o vojínovi Viktoru Waidlichovi, který sloužil za druhé světové války u pozemího personálu 311. perutě.

A Czech language TV documentary about AC2 Viktor Waidlich, who served as a member of 311 Sqn groundstaff during WW2.

Po komunistickém převratu v únoru 1948 byl 28.5.1948 zastřelen StB při pokusu o útěk ze svého bytu.

After the Communist take-over of Czechoslovakia in February 1948, he was shot and killed by the StB – Státní bezpečnost, the state secret service – whilst trying to escape from his flat on 28.05.49.

Dokument najdete zde:

The documentary here.




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Miroslav Liskutin – Slapanice, 13.04.2019.


The urn of Brigadier General Miroslav Liškutín was interned at his family grave at Šlapanice cemetery, near Brno. It was a well-attended, military organised, event with attendees including his grandson and family from the UK, Czech relatives, representatives of the Czech military, led by Major General Jan Kaše, Chief of the Military Office of President of the Czech Republic, CzRAF veteran Gen Emil Boček, local dignitaries, a coach full of residents from his birth village of Jiříkovice, several relatives of Czechoslovak RAF airmen and well-wishers. Music, for the national anthems of the Czech Republic and Great Britain, was provided by a Czech Army band. The ceremony included a flypast of 2 Griffin jets from the Czech Air Force.

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Numerous wreaths and flower bouquets were laid at the family grave, including from several, civilian attired, CzRAF reenactors who came to pay their respectful remembrance.

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Miroslav Antonín Liškutín was born on 23 August, 1919, at Jiříkovice, near Brno. He is the last of the surviving CzRAF veterans who had was training in the Czechoslovak Air Force to be a pilot in pre-WW2 Czechoslovakia. After German occupation in March ’39, he was one of those who escaped over the border to Poland in the Summer of 1939 and who had to travel to France and join the French Foreign Legion for the required term of five years. When WW2 was declared they were released from their Foreign Legion service and joined French military units. For Miroslav, this was joining l’Armee d’Air as a pilot, but by the time he had retrained on French equipment and also learning French, the Germans had, in May 1940, invaded France and a month later capitulated. Miroslav was amongst the many Czechoslovak airmen who were evacuated, by ship, from Bordeaux and brought to the UK where they joined the RAF.

After English lessons and retraining at 3 EFTS (Elementary Flying Training School), 9 SFTS (Service Flying Training School) and 58 OTU (Operational Training Unit), he was posted, as a pilot, in September ’41 to 145 Sqn, a fighter squadron equipped with Spitfires. In November ’41 he was posted to 312 (Czechoslovak) Sqn, where he flew operationally including the ill-fated Dieppe raid when he shot down a Dornier Do 217 Luftwaffe bomber, and D-Day. After VE Day his final posting, on 15 May 1945, was to 313 (Czechoslovak) Sqn where he remained until the squadron returned to Czechoslovakia.

During his wartime RAF service he had risen to the rank of F/Lt, had flown 465 operational hours during his two operational tours and had been awarded the DFC and AFC British valour medals. Similarly, Czechoslovakia had awarded him three Válečný kříž 1939 and a Za chrabrost valour medals.

The Czechoslovak RAF personnel were finally permitted to return to their homeland in August 1945, by their country’s Russian liberators. Miroslav remained in the Czechoslovak Air Force, serving in the 7th Air Regiment, but following the Communist take-over in February ’48, the former Czechoslovak RAF personnel became the subject of persecution from this new regime. Like many of them, he was forced to go into exile for a second time, by escaping over the border into Russian occupied Austria, making his way to the Britsh Embassy in Vienna and from where RAF colleagues escorted him onto a flight to England.

He rejoined the RAF where he served until 1962, rising to the rank of S/Ldr. Miroslav then was employed as a civilian flying instructor until 1973 when he went to Lusaka, Zambia as flying instructor at the Zambia Air Services Training Institute until his retirement in 1979.

In June 2017, the final year of his life, he was finally promoted to the rank of Brigadier General in the Czechoslovak Air Force. He died on 19 February 2018, aged 98, at Fareham, UK.

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Soldiering On – Czech Freedom Fighters in Great Britain 1940-1945





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